Wednesday, September 19, 2007

not sorry

Heyyy... so... it's Wednesday. Must be time to blog!

The snarky bitch in me (who takes up between 71 and 86 percent of my personality, dependent on what time of the month it happens to be) finds it really amusing when bloggers apologize for not blogging so long. For one thing, guy bloggers never do it. It's always the ladies. Maybe because women just naturally apologize for everything, using "I'm sorry" to preface everything from "would you repeat that?" to "I don't love you anymore," overuse to the point where the phrase really loses any meaning.

And it always tends to be the ladies who write about their lives on the Internet and then apologize when they infrequently and irregularly post. We say "I'm sorry" but there's not exactly regret involved. It's just a way to start when we can't think of anything else to say and diving in without an acknowledgement that we were gone for a while feels awkward and blunt.

So I'm going to buck the trend and not apologize for having three posts in three weeks. Primarily because, well, duh. Your life has somehow managed to go on. But also because I recently didn't apologize for something. Or rather I did apologize for something, but then qualified the hell out of it, placing it in context and standing up for my behavior and response. And it felt effing awesome.

I usually detest qualified apologies, and there's no phrase more likely to get my blood boiling than "I'm sorry you feel that way." It's dismissive and hostile and has nothing to do with trying to fix the circumstances that led to hurt feelings. Saying "I'm sorry," and following it with "but..." rarely leads to anything good, and I dislike that combination so much that I'll go out of the way to avoid it. I've apologized for things I wasn't really sorry for because it was easier than trying to explain why I felt the way I did, or groveled when a simple "you're right, I won't do that next time" would have sufficed.

I was also, shall we say, a rather dramatic person in my younger days. My wonder years saw unending Brenda Walsh-style fits of righteous indignation that no one would EVER understand me and the whole world and everyone in it just SUCKED, LIKE, GOD. Naturally I've come to realize how incredibly off-putting it was and am proud to say that I'm no longer such a raging bitch to be around. However, my retrospective embarassment at being so high-maintenance and defensive when I had something to apologize for has left me overanalytical. Even though there are very few people in my current life who knew me at 16, thank sweet baby Jesus, I carry the memory of how difficult it was to be around me back then. Where I once made blanket statements, I now scrutinize and second-guess to death. I doubt myself, and don't stand up for myself as much as I should. To pummel an innocent metaphor, I fear drawing a line in the sand too soon, and so I frequently leave the beach altogether.

This is especially the case when the question of my being a good friend is involved. I haven't always been. I can be selfish and thoughtless and narcissistic, I'm terrible at remembering names and faces and birthdays and I suck at making personalized crafts and presents, which for midwestern-bred gals is actually a not-insignificant thing. I'm perpetually ten minutes late to everything and I tend to take out my bad moods on the people who love me the most.

But despite these bad traits, I have some things going for me. I assume everyone I meet is a potential friend and am always, always open to getting to know new people. I will go on wacky adventures and I will do the mundane, tedious stuff like helping you move. I will never ever tell you that you need to stop talking about a certain subject, person or thought because I know what it's like to endlessly dwell on things that you rationally know are bad for you and sometimes talking it out, even over several years, is the only way to purge the bad stuff in life. I will understand when we can't get together for months on end because life keeps getting in the way. I will buy your mom shots and I will go to the hospital with you and I will cancel whatever I had going on to pour tequila down your gullet when a boyfriend breaks up with you. I will proofread your resume and your online dating profile, I will link to your blog and I will never, ever be mean to you and then try to couch it in a cowardly phrase like "I'm just being honest."

So, when I recently apologized for offending a good friend two months ago, I apologized for the hurt feelings and then basically told her to get over it. There was a miscommunication involved, it turns out-- an email she sent that I never got led to further hurt feelings on her part, quite understandably-- but in my opinion, the punishment did not fit the crime. And I called her on it. For the first time in a really long time, I qualified an apology. I told her that I never meant to hurt her feelings and was sorry that I had, and that while I was glad she had come to me about it, that the incident in question was so small and such a long time ago that I felt she really should not still be holding a grudge. Honestly? I'm still a little shaky from writing this to her. I keep checking my inbox to see if she's written me back. So far she hasn't. But twenty-four hours later and I don't regret a word of what I said.

I may be sorry for things that I've done, but I am done apologizing for being who I am. Not just because I'm better than I used to be, but because like most other folks stumbling around this rock, I'm a good person who occasionally does stupid things.

And here and now I promise you will never again see the phrase "I'm sorry for not blogging" anywhere on EJ Takes Life.


Anonymous said...

Friendships are so hard, aren't they? But you seem like you've got the right attitude. At this point in our lives (early 30s for me anyway) it's not worth being friends with someone if you're not going to do it 100%. And 100% means being honest about your feelings and making sure that both people are getting what they want from the friendship. It sounds to me like you did what you had to do to hold up your end of the bargain. Maybe your friend just needs time to accept the apology and come to terms with her own feelings.

Kristin said...

I like the unapologetic you.

Ashley said...

i said sorry to my keyboard this morning when i made a typo. seriously?

Hey Pretty said...

And because you're like spinach...;)

Lexa said...

This is something I am also working on. It just spills out of my mouth. Then when I really am sorry about something, I go over the topic because "sorry" is just a cast off phrase for me. A vicious cycle indeed.

Hammer said...

Never thought about it but yeah, we really don't apologize for not blogging. We just kind of wander off and then roll back when we feel like it, acting like nothing ever happened.

There's a downside to that sort of behavior though. For one thing, it drove my first wife crazy. She'd be all, "Where the hell have you been for the last week and a half?!" and I'd be all like, "Whatever man. I was out. Are there any more tater tots in the freezer?"

Yeah, that went over real well...

The Goo said...

My new assistant just apologized for taking up my time... while I'm training her to take over all of the stuff she's taking off of my plate!

The converse of the inappropriate sorry: the inappropriate thank you. I say this ALL THE TIME at the worst possible times, and when I least mean it- especially to my colleagues.

As for apologizing about not blogging, mine comes from sheer hubris: I like to think that people's days are a little darker when I don't blog. I can't wait until they make a special Pulitzer category for me.

(cough of sarcasm here)